The coastal drive to Denia has enough U bends round the hills to command a driver’s attention and plenty of natural eye-candy landscape around to ease the worry of the passenger. Craggy hills on one side and the sea on the other guard this sprawling Costa Blanca city. Denia has a long, varied, hard-fought for history or so Wikipedia says. No doubt, the squat, fortress of a class overlooking the city centre would educate on the matter, but two small kids being hauled around in the heat isn’t exactly a fun way to learn anything but forbearance!
Three generations of Smiths climbed aboard a train and headed out to Denia for the day. The first thing I noticed is the vast, populated, busy port and bustling shops, cafe’s and bars opposite. Eventually, this leads to the wide, tree lined avenue shading pretty buildings with wooden shutters, all the high street shops you could want, cafe’s and ice cream shops aplenty. If after a long walk you should feel tired, a pretty flower filled garden, complete with a wee fountain and benches, invites you to a little oasis at the bottom end of this road. You then turn around and shop and eat at the other side! I would have had more shots of this main street but they were gearing up for the Moors and Christians festival thats played right round Spain in the summer. Another time!
Little narrow roads shoot off this main avenue and if you put your feet to them, you might find the most unusual cluster of low storey buildings, painted in the most vivid, nature toned bright colours – teal, mustard, purples, greys, red and deep azure blues. The crumbling paint, broken windows and cacti growing in amongst it all, confirm the complete abandonment of this area. While it offers rich fodder for the lens, I couldn’t help feeling a bit sad that the heart of this coastal area was derelict. There were some amusing bits though. There was evidence everywhere of a cheeky artist, using everyday situations to stencil a comic little scene – such as the picture on a bright, mustard coloured wall of a thieving animal (dog/cat?), trying to crack the real padlock off a door. Or the cat with a paint roller, stencilled next to a large patch of cracked, flaking paint. Tis the small things folks. The Spanish love their balconies, decorating them elaborately with potted plants and trailing, acid pink bougainvillea. Occasionally, your eye might catch little figurines sitting on the window ledge, a coy girl, eyes raised to the skies, while the white suited man sits nearby, gazing at her in admiration. A pretty little picture.
Well, I can’t have a blog post without the mention of grub. We have been to Denia a few times and the food is always scrummy. The heat beat us off the street and into the shade of a trellis overflowing with vine leaves, complete with purple grape bunches dangling in the sea breeze. Tables were laid out right under this vast canopy. The owner of this restaurant was loud, gangly and a bit dishevelled but so cheerful and easy going, it was impossible not to crack a smile and have a laugh with him. From his kitchen, we got – the ubiquitous but incredible delicious sweet Seranno ham, with manchego cheese and briny olives, doorstopper sized slices of bread drizzled with peppery olive oil and accompanied with allioli. Mini chorizo sausages roasted in the oven, served in the terracota cazuela they were cooked in. Pescaditos, a personal favourites – deep friend wee fish, head, bones and all. Crispy on the outside, tender and moist within and just bursting with freshness. Next was a novelty, pigs ears. Have to admit, this one didn’t swing it. While quite tender, we couldn’t get over the texture, though I will say that crispy, deep fried porks ear is an entirely different matter. Two of the kids choices restored balance – fried chicken wings and albondigas, meatballs usually cooked in a tomato sauce. Suffice to say, we were sat in our chairs long after the plates were cleared. The owner brought out some complimentary liqueur, along with some seriously delicious shots of coffee, similar to espresso and called curtados. All in all, I’d say it was a great day out.
George (my FIL) and I headed back to Denia on our own so that we both could play around with our cameras (and for me, his lenses!), without our respective spouses and the kids having to wait around for us while we take 10 shots of cracked paint and bougainvillaea! Great fun, fab lessons learnt. Hope you like the pictures…